Toronto Mayor Rob Ford released a new campaign video Wednesday in his bid for re-election that includes shots filmed inside his City Hall office, a move that violates city election policies.
Candidates are not allowed to campaign on city property or use city resources in their campaign, but the video clearly shows shots of the mayor working in his City Hall office.
“City infrastructure cannot be used for any election purposes,” states the city’s official policy on use of city resources during an election.
At the re-opening of a city playground Wednesday evening, Mayor Ford told reporters the video didn’t break any rules because he was doing his city work while it was being filmed, not campaigning.
“That’s Rob Ford working like I’ve done for 14 years as a councillor, as the mayor, and I’m going to continue to do that,” Mayor Ford said. He said it’s up to the integrity commissioner to decide whether or not the video broke any rules, but said the complaints raised against him are “frivolous.”
“The integrity commissioner, I must keep her employed. There must be hundreds, thousands of claims. I don’t know how many but every day there’s complaints. They’re frivolous. It’s political.”
City Councillor Doug Ford, who is the mayor’s brother and campaign manager, brushed off concerns about the video violating city policy.
“I don’t believe all of it was [in his office], but it shows what the mayor does day in and day out, returning calls and I think it’s a good video showing the people of Toronto what the mayor does,” Mr. Ford said.
“He’s still the mayor and that’s it.”
Fellow mayoral candidate, city councillor Karen Stintz, was also at the park re-opening. She said while she would not film a campaign video in her City Hall office, Ms. Stintz said it wasn’t worth getting worked up over.
“At this point, I just don’t think it’s worthwhile to have another investigation into the mayor. The mayor tends to operate by his own rules,” Ms. Stintz said.
The original video also included clear, close-up shots of a list of phone numbers for constituents the mayor was contacting, but a second version of the video was uploaded Wednesday afternoon with the numbers obscured.
Alexandra Lesyk’s phone number was included in the original video. She said she had left a message for the mayor in February when her heat was switched off.
“I called him at 10 or 11 in the morning and by 8 p.m. the heat was on,” Ms. Lesyk explained, adding it doesn’t bother her that her number was publicly displayed in the video and she plans to vote for the mayor. “I love him.”
Shaniece Miller also had her number included in the video. She said the mayor has been working to help her sort out a housing issue, but it has yet to be resolved. Ms. Miller said she wasn’t sure how she felt about having her number used in the mayor’s campaign video.
“At the end of the day, if I get help, it doesn’t bother me. If you’re just putting it out there to make it seem like you’re helping people, then yes it would bother me if I don’t get help in the end.”